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William Bailey
Afternoon in Umbria
2010
Betty Cuningham Gallery
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William Bailey

CONSTRUCTED HALLUCINATIONS
by Donald Kuspit

William Bailey tells us that he doesn’t represent objects, scenes, figures he’s observed, but rather imagines them, suggesting that the still-life-paintings for which he is famous are fantasies. More precisely, abstract fantasies, for their forms and colors seem more important to him than their emotional and social meaning. Thus, what counts in Rose Alba (2012) is not the materiality of the objects on matter-of-fact display -- a pitcher, a bowl, a bottle, some cups -- but rather the contrasting shapes built into them and between them. It is the difference between the curve of the pitcher’s thin handle and the curve of its opening that “matters,” and between them and the wide-mouthed opening of the bulky bowl, and between both the thin neck and small opening of the bottle, as well as the three small cups, all differently shaped. The pitcher is white, the bowl is pink, the bottle is brown and the cups are multi-colored. All the objects are set in a corner composed of three thin planes, each a different shade of brown.

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